UTCH eHomestyle News November 2017 Fall Edition

Also in this Issue:



VFW Patriot’s Pen for Middle School Students https://www.vfw.org/VOD/

Voice of Democracy for High School Students https://www.vfw.org/-/media/VFWSite/Files/Community/Youth-and-Education/Voice-of-Democracy-Student-Entry-Form-and-Brochure.pdf?la=en

Several Contests for all ages: https://www.freedomfestival.org/event/contests/


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Family Field Trip Ideas (Free or Discounted)

Dates could change, so check with your favorite organization for details!

Hogle Zoo Wild Wednesdays (generally offered the last Wednesday of the month, November-February)

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium $5 off Monday Family Nights

Natural History Museum of Utah (Monday, December 11, January 8 and May 14)

Red Butte Garden (Free Saturday & Sunday, December 2 & 3, 2017)

Tracy Aviary $1 Winter Wednesdays (November-March)

Mentor Moms

UTCH is in need of experienced homeschool Moms to mentor new home educators. Would you be willing to mentor someone new to homeschooling? If you have at least three years of experience, love the Lord and have a willing heart, please contact Cynthia at Thomas.s.edwards@gmail.com and we will be in touch with information…and possibly someone in need of your wisdom!

If you’re new to home education and would like to have someone to call and get advice, please contact the same email above and we will pair you up with a mentor.

Setting and Attaining Your Goals

To begin setting goals, ask yourself, "Why are we homeschooling?" Have an overall purpose in mind, then set your goals to accomplish that purpose over the year. This will be quite valuable in about January, when you may be weary and feel like quitting. Put your reasons in writing!

According to Luke 2:52, "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (NIV). What progress would you like your child to make in those four areas this year? Remember: while your purpose could be defined as your aim (for example, for your child to grow up to be a godly person), your goals should be measurable (to read one chapter of the Bible a day, to keep a prayer notebook, to be kinder to siblings, etc.). How will you know when a goal has been reached?

Intellectual: While this area is often the focus of home education, try to set specific goals for each child so your studies will have more direction. Rather than broad or vague goals such as "learn phonics," you may aim for him to recognize specific letters and sounds; other specific goals could include improving reading speed, reading ten biographies, keeping a journal, starting a family newsletter, reading about three foreign countries, improving multiplication speed, etc.

Physical: Don’t limit your physical education to learning a sport. An active PE program is healthy, but go a step further by planning for him to learn to prepare nutritious snacks, walk as a family, work on a construction project, improve hygiene, learn how the body systems work, etc.

Spiritual: This is a good time to work on particular character traits and then plan appropriate activities and/or units. For example, you may want to see your student improve in patience, so you might include such activities as knot-tying and puzzles, while gratefulness or compassion could be encouraged by becoming pen pals with a missionary’s kid or taking bananas to local nursing home residents, etc. You could set specific goals for Bible memory work or Bible reading, as well.

Social: For a younger child, this could be as basic as learning good telephone manners. This is a good time to identify potentially positive traits that are being misdirected or abused. An overly organized, compulsive, impatient child most likely has the capacity to be a very efficient person. The child who is always being taken advantage of is probably very patient with others and has a servant’s heart (assuming he has a healthy, godly self-image). A spendthrift or wasteful child could learn to use his generosity to further God’s kingdom. Look for ways to encourage the gifts to be used appropriately without breaking the child’s spirit. This is also a good opportunity to evaluate outside activities and decide how the family's time will be most wisely spent. Are those outside activities helping to meet your goals? Could some of those activities be saved for another time, or dropped altogether? Take time throughout the year to evaluate your progress and possibly make adjustments. Ask yourself, "What is working and what is not working, and why? What can I adjust to meet our goals?"


The Middle School Years

If you homeschooled your child through the elementary years, you initially experienced moments of self-doubt, but you managed through the first year (or two or three) and gained confidence to educate your child at home…until now!

It is not uncommon for parents to suddenly begin to second-guess themselves all over again as their children approach the early teen years and the parents feel inadequate to prepare their children for high school. And if you are just beginning to homeschool at the middle-school level (usually grades 6–8*), you may be jumping in already at the second-guessing stage.

Take heart—you can do this!
The subject matter will be more complicated as he enters junior high school, but remember that it is not your job to teach your child everything there is to learn; it is your job to:

  • Teach him how to learn;
  • Reinforce basic knowledge and basic tools of learning;
  • Instill in him good character;
  • Encourage him in the way he is to go; and
  • Provide avenues for further learning.

Know Your Strengths and Limitations

Evaluate your own skills and knowledge, and be willing to utilize other resources as needed to meet your student's higher academic needs. Some options include:

  • Textbooks designed specifically for homeschoolers, written to the student in a conversational tone with all explanatory material included, or written with scripted teaching material for the parent
  • "Living" books
  • Tutors (including relatives or parent trade-offs)
  • CDs
  • Videos
  • Supplemental classes (either local or online)
  • Tutorials
  • Co-ops
  • Hands-on experiences or internships

Strengthen the Basics

I call these the 4 Rs: Reading, (w)Riting, ’Rithmetic, and Responsibility!

  • At this stage, you’ll want to review and strengthen his arithmetic skills and computation speed so he has a solid foundation for algebra and geometry in high school.
  • Composition will be transitioning from the report-writing stage to the essay-and-analysis stage, so this is a good time to reinforce his reading comprehension, grammar, and basic composition skills. If you don’t feel comfortable evaluating his writing at this level, you may know of a friend or tutor who would be willing to help in this area. The constructive criticism of a writing club can be positive motivation for some students at this age level.
  • Your goal as a parent is to eventually work yourself out of a job! Life skills and time management training will serve your student well in the future, both immediate and long-term. Young people at this age are usually able to be given increasing control over their schedules as well as some input into subject matter choices. This may take a bit of patience on your part (and training in diligence and thoroughness on your student’s part), but it will eventually be worth it.

Let Him Explore His Passions

One benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility to incorporate opportunities for your child to pursue his passions, interests, and talents. Many students dabble in entrepreneurship and develop talents or hobbies that could blossom into future ventures.

Look Ahead to High School

While some students use these years to solidify earlier concepts, others are ready to move into some high-school-level work during junior high years. Many families will begin high school studies in the eighth grade, giving the student an extra year for in-depth studies. Wherever he falls on the timeline, you’ll want to check out HSLDA’s Homeschooling thru High School webpages, bookmarking your favorite pages from our high school consultants!

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

This may be a time of great transition for your young person—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It can be a challenging age, but she needs your affection, communication, and understanding even more than ever. It is not uncommon for students in this developmental stage to have spiritual questions; don’t take them personally but do take them seriously. What a wonderful opportunity to mentor and disciple your child!

Rachel Bentley Ramey, in See, I Told Me So? (edited by Tammy Cardwell), encourages parents of middle schoolers:
"[Before homeschooling,] my family did not have my heart; my friends did. Though I had a better-than-average relationship with my parents, I had been in government school for six years, spending more time with my friends than my family. I had become peer-dependent … Homeschooling—and all the family time that came with it—allowed my mom to change that … . [My parents] persevered. Mom could have put me back in school, deciding it was much too wearying to fight with me every day. She could have given in to the friends and family who insisted that she was too hard on us, that we weren’t going to be ‘socialized’ enough, and that one needs a teaching degree in order to teach effectively… . If she had given up, she would never have drawn my heart back … . Don't give up. Do not ‘grow weary while doing good, for in due season [you] shall reap if [you] do not lose heart.’ (Galatians 6:9 NKJV)"


The Hardest Part of Home Schooling

As one of our readers reminded me last week, home schooling is a calling. It is rewarding. The benefits for the family and the children are multi-dimensional. Home schooling is also hard.

Home schooling is hard because it is worthwhile, because it produces eternal fruit, because it goes against the grain of the status quo, because it is demanding. As home-schooling mothers, we can now add choosing curriculum, organizing school days, and teaching to the long litany of demanding tasks that already fill our days: cooking, cleaning, laundry, chauffeuring, nurturing, grocery shopping - the list continues, ad infinitum.

But to me, none of these things is the hardest part of home schooling. The hardest part is the daily pressure and concern I experience regarding my children’s welfare. I know their lives are in God’s hands, and yet I can’t help but sense that my children’s futures depend on me in a significant way. Am I giving them everything they need? Are we covering enough material in school? How are they doing spiritually? Am I challenging them enough? Too much? What if I mess up? What if, when they are grown, they resent our decision to home school? What if they can’t get into the right colleges or get the right jobs? The haunting "what if's" - like my daily lists of chores - seem to be never-ending. (As a note of encouragement, my grown sons are doing very well in life, are walking with God, and cherish their home-schooling heritage.)

I used to think that my deep concern about my children’s welfare was sin, until I read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. In these verses, Paul recounts the grave physical dangers and hardships that had been his as a servant of Christ - imprisonments, beatings, shipwreck, robbers, hunger, etc. (Please read these verses when you have a minute.) But in verse 28 Paul says this, "Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches."

Wow! This verse is packed with powerful significance for home-schooling mothers. Paul is saying in essence that all the external challenges he has endured are not as taxing or as ever-present as the "daily pressure of concern for all the churches." Paul is validating the daily pressure we experience regarding the concern we have for all our children. He has experienced that same pressure - multiplied. His concern for the churches stems from his great love for Christ and for them, just like our concern for our children stems from our love for Christ and for them. Doesn’t that make you want to stand up and cheer?

And instead of being a negative, our concern is really a positive thing - because it keeps us focused, motivated, and on our knees. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: "And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." What do you find hard about home schooling, and how have you dealt with it?

This week, may Paul’s words and wisdom encourage you as you continue your very worthwhile labors in your home.


Support/Contact Groups

Carbon County
Jodie Wells
Davis / Weber
Sharalyn Paetz
Iron County
Samantha Solo
Sanpete County
Sara Larson
North Sanpete
Jason & Kristen Maxfield
Sevier County
Kelle Lambers
Mark & Tina Roberts

Jeanette Rhyne
Uintah County
Joanna Wardell
Utah County
Suzzanne Cutler
meets 2x/month, topic discussion & field trip, inquire for specifics
West Valley
Michelle Edwards
meets 2nd Sat. of month from 10:30-12:30
Contact Michelle for more information

Utah Christian Home School Co Op Information

West Valley Co-op
Autumn Hartman

UTCH Davis/Weber Cooperative
Learn about the cooperative at www.dwcoop.net info@dwcoop.net for a reply

Missy Dunn missymaydunn@gmail.com (Draper area)
Laurie Norman altabirdski@yahoo.com

UTCH Volunteers

UTCH Membership Secretary Peter Reymer

Field Trip Coordinator
Jennifer Johnson

Digital Newsletter Layout
Micheal Fenton

UTCH Newsletter Editor
Cynthia Edwards


UTCH eHomestyle News

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Telephone: 801-432-0016 (voice mail)

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